Study Finds Lewy Body Disease Can Be Detected Before Symptoms Appear

Study Finds Lewy Body Disease Can Be Detected Before Symptoms Appear

A new study has found that Lewy body disease can be detected before symptoms appear.

According to the National Institute on Aging, Lewy body disease affects more than 1 million individuals in the United States. It's the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease and is one of the most commons causes of dementia.

The NIA notes that diagnosing Lewy body disease can be challenging and symptoms typically progress over time. Early symptoms can be particularly hard to identify, and symptoms typically appear in individuals over 50. The disease can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood.

Now, researchers have found that the disease can be detected before symptoms even set in!

Researchers with Lund University published the study titled, "Clinical effects of Lewy body pathology in cognitively impaired individuals," on July 18, 2023, in the academic journal Nature Medicine.

According to the study, researchers can now actually determine if a person has Lewy body disease through a spinal fluid test. Previously, doctors couldn't tell if a person had Lewy bodies in their brains until after their deaths. Using a spinal fluid test, patients can be tested for the disease before symptoms even appear!

In the study, researchers tested 1,100 individuals. The study participants didn't display any cognitive impairments or motor difficulties. After testing their spinal fluid, however, around 10 percent of the participants were found to have Lewy bodies in their brains.

Study lead Oskar Hansson said in a press release: "Despite the participants not having any cognitive or neurological problems at the beginning of the study, we observed that those with Lewy bodies in the brain subsequently experienced a decline in their cognitive functions over time. They were also the ones who developed Parkinson's disease or Lewy body dementia in the coming years."

While Lewy body disease doesn't currently have a cure or treatment, Hansson noted that "Several drugs targeted at Lewy bodies are currently being developed, with the hope of slowing down the disease."

Malorie Thompson

Malorie works as a writer and editor in Northern California. She's passionate about food, conscious living, animal welfare, and conservation. She's worked with a variety of publications in different sectors but is happiest covering topics close to her heart. When not at her laptop, Malorie can be found enjoying picnics on the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and spending time with her rescue pup, Jax.

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